Exploding China

Exploding China – China’s New Megacities
Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam
13 September 2011, 20.00 – 22.30h

Over the next two decades around 300 million Chinese villagers will move to the city, creating the largest urban society the world has ever seen. Unknown Chinese megacities like Wuhan (10 million inhabitants), Shijiazhuang (9 million) and Chongqing (33 million) are transforming at breakneck pace into the big brothers and sisters of global cities like Rio de Janeiro, London and Moscow.

The transformation follows a ruthless logic: farmers demolish their homes and build their own high-rise apartment blocks, torn down again by city authorities in the name of progress. Everywhere in the country, new business districts, skylines and even complete ghost cities emerge. The effects are felt far outside China. The growing urban middle class has ever more money to spend, driving up demand for luxuries worldwide. Chinese students are conquering the lecture halls of Harvard and Yale.

In a refreshing program with presentations, live interviews, theatre, music and debate, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and the Go West Project will offer you a program with Chinese and Dutch experts who shine their light on the breathtaking developments in these new cities, and the implications for the rest of the world.

Idea and realisation:
Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and Go West Project: Melle Daamen, Wiepke Westbroek, Michiel Hulshof, Daan Roggeveen

Short biographies of speakers

Journalist Michiel Hulshof and architect Daan Roggeveen founded and coordinate the Go West Project, a multidisciplinary research lab focusing on the development of China’s emerging megacities. Michiel Hulshof is China correspondent for the Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland. Daan Roggeveen is an architect working on architectural and urban projects in China and Europe. As part of the Go West Project, they produced articles and photo essays for Chinese and international media, and organised events and exhibitions in Amsterdam, Beijing, London, Shanghai and Shenzhen. They lecture at Chinese universities on a regular basis.

Jiang Jun is founder and former editor-in-chief of the independent Chinese magazine Urban China. He teaches urbanism at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and is assistant professor at Strelka University in Moskow. His architecture firm Underline Office has projects all over China.

Wang Fei is the co-founder of Chinese Archi-Image Phenomena (CAIP), a consortium of urban image theorists speculating on architecture and image culture in contemporary China. He teaches at the Chinese Academy of Art and Hong Kong University in Shanghai and is principal of Atelier Ten.

Peter Ho is professor of Chinese Economy and Development at Leiden University. Ho serves on various high-level commissions as an advisor for the Chinese and Dutch government, the OECD, the EU and the private sector. He provides frequent advice and interviews to the media, including the BBC, The Economist and the American PBS.

Stefan Landsberger is professor of Contemporary Chinese Culture at the University of Amsterdam and teaching Chinese Language and Culture at Leiden University. He is associate editor of the magazine China Information. Landsberger also owns the world’s largest collection of Chinese propaganda posters.

Joan Veldkamp worked as a correspondent in East Asia for more than six years, first in Japan and later in China. In Shanghai, she was correspondent for Dutch National Radio (NOS) and wrote articles for news magazine Elsevier.

The theatre scenes were written and performed by the actors Aaron Wan and Wanting Li. Singer Charmaine Leung  performed a famous Chinese pop-ballad.


20.00 Opening
20.10 Introduction by Michiel Hulshof and Daan Roggeveen
20.20 “The Chongqing Model”, key note speech by Jiang Jun
20.40 “Selfmade citizens” by Daan Roggeveen and Michiel Hulshof
20.50 “Shanzai architecture – about authenticity and building”, lecture by Wang Fei
21.05 Theatre scene

21.10 BREAK

21.30 “China’s housing bubble” by Daan Roggeveen and Michiel Hulshof
21.35 Joan Veldkamp interviews prof. Peter Ho and prof. Stefan Landsberger
21.50 “Hong dou” from Faye Wong, performed by Charmaine Leung
21.55 “The creative class in emerging megacities” by Daan Roggeveen and Michiel Hulshof
22.00 Joan Veldkamp interviews prof. Peter Ho and prof. Stefan Landsberger
22.10 Panel discussion: the future of Chinese cities
22.25 Official launch of How the City Moved to Mr Sun – China’s New Megacities